At a time when it’s painfully difficult to find any sort of unanimity in the Jewish community with regard to Israel, the outpouring of concern from across the political spectrum for one sad-eyed serviceman provides a poignant place for common ground.
On the fifth anniversary of his capture by Hamas everyone, it seems, is publicly remembering Gilad Shalit.
The right-wing Zionist Organization of America is tweeting about Shalit, while the liberal-minded B’nai Jeshurun synagogue on Manhattan’s Upper West Side held a screening of a new film about his five years in captivity. Many of Europe’s most important political leaders, some of whom have been critical of Israel’s official stand on peace talks, have nonetheless called for Shalit’s release; even the iconic black taxi cabs in London are set to carry a message for freedom.
Now Amnesty International has joined the chorus. Not an organization always consider sympathetic to Israel, Amnesty has issued a “campaign of solidarity” and called on Hamas to grant access to the Israeli soldier by the International Committee of the Red Cross. These entreaties have so far been for naught.
It’s clearer now than it’s ever been that the cause of Gilad Shalit has moved beyond the realm of politics. His continued imprisonment is a violation of our most deeply held international laws — not to mention, basic human dignity.
Jane Eisner, a pioneer in journalism, became editor-in-chief of the Forward in 2008, the first woman to hold the position at the influential Jewish national news organization. Under her leadership, the Forward readership has grown significantly and has won numerous regional and national awards for its original journalism, in print and online.